Every other Thursday, we bring you Nicholas Day -- on cooking for children, and with children, and despite children. Also, occasionally, on top of.
Today: How to turn mango lassis into popsicles. Because everything is better on a stick.
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I am sure that the mango on my kitchen counter has suffered irreparably from shipment and storage. I am sure that it is a pale, tasteless shadow of its locally-ripened self. I am sure that it is a mango in noun only.
But how much more mango does a person need? In the words of Michael Chabon, writing about -- stay with me here -- sex and circumcision, “How much more pleasurable, really, do I need it to be?”
Apparently, there are limits to how many mangoes a person can consume. I have never encountered these limits -- like cows, I have extra stomachs that, unlike cows, are strictly for mangoes -- but I am told they exist. During mango season on Martinique, a friend says, there are so many mangoes on the mango trees that the excess mangoes are furiously given away by their growers -- the only problem being that the recipients already have too many mangoes of their own. Now, in addition to giving away their own mangoes, they have to regift the new mangoes.
I like to imagine half the mangoes in Martinique in perpetual motion, carted around from one household to the next, the entire island engaged in a very slow, extremely polite game of hot potato.
I regard this story the same way that early New England farmers, after clearing yet another acre of frost-heaved boulders, must have regarded the stories about the rich black soil of Ohio: with disbelief and the slow, blinding realization that somewhere in life I made a wrong turn. When I have too much of something it is zucchini. It does not seem like a fair trade.
Meanwhile, from Brisbane in Australia: “Residents whose mango trees are groaning under the weight of a bumper crop have been throwing the excess, rotten fruits into wheelie bins, making them too heavy for garbage men to lift.” A single bin reportedly held 378 pounds of unwanted mangoes.
I confess I have had uncharitable thoughts about the good people of Brisbane.
Mangoes this season have been even cheaper than usual, at least around here, and if that is because the mango industry is experiencing some apocalyptic collapse, I do not want to know about it. I am busy trying to eat as many as possible before they go the way of the banana.
Mostly, that means eating them over the kitchen sink, and then licking my elbows, or fighting the baby for the last few pieces left on the highchair tray. Or puréeing them into mango lassi. Or freezing the mango lassi in popsicle form, because everything is better in popsicle form. Even water is better in popsicle form: lately, the preschooler in the house has been making water ice pops to take into the bath, where he and his infant brother happily suck on the frozen pops while sitting in the warm water, which must be the deepest sensual pleasure either has ever experienced. Should I quote Michael Chabon again?
I can give you the recipe for the water ice pops, if you want.
For the mango lassis, a few things to remember. As always, flavors diminish when frozen. More sugar will keep them softer. If you are feeding grown-ups, a tiny bit of vodka will keep them softer. Non-Greek yogurt is fine. But it will be slightly more icy: there’s more water in regular yogurt, thus more ice.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).